A Second Visit to Rhode Island

General Lafayette’s first visit to Rhode Island was during the perilous times of the Rhode Island Campaign in 1778. His second visit was in the summer of 1780. Washington sent Lafayette to carry his greetings to Rochambeau. Lafayette was in New Jersey when he received his orders from General Washington. His route led him through Peekskill, Danbury, Hartford, Lebanon and finally arriving in Newport on July 25th. Lafayette remained in Newport with Rochambeau at Vernon House (Rochabeau headquarters) until July 31, 1780. By August 7th Lafayette was back in Peekskill commanding his troops.

Vernon House in Newport where Lafayette stayed with Rochambeau

A Third Visit to Rhode Island

After the close of the Revolutionary War, Lafayette made a third trip to Rhode Island. In October of 1784 he arrived in Providence. The Providence Gazette of 1784 reported:

“Last Saturday Afternoon (October 23) the Honorable Marquis de la Fayette arrived here from Boston. He was met a few miles from hence by a Number of principal Inhabitants, and received at the Entrance of the Town and escorted in, by the United Company of the Train of Artillery under arms. On his Arrival he was welcomed by a Discharge of 13 Cannon at the State House Parade, the Bells were rung and at Sunset, the Salute was repeated by heavy Cannon on Beacon Hill.”

“The Marquis having visited Newport returned from thence on Monday Evening and on Tuesday partook of an Entertainment at Mr. Rice’s Tavern at which were present his Excellency the Governor, his Honor the Deputy-Governor, both Houses of Assembly, a Number of respectable Inhabitants, Officers of the late Army &c. After diner the Marquis set out for Boston and was again saluted with 13 Cannon.”

“On Monday last (October 25) the Society of Cincinnati of this State convened at Mr. Rice’s Tavern where an elegant Dinner was provided upon the Occasion; and having finished the Business of their Meeting they were honored with Company of his Excellency the Governor his Honor the Lieutenant Governor and the Honorable the Marquis de la Fayette accompanied by the Chevalier De L’Enfant.” Thirteen toasts were given.

References: Preston’s 1928 article in the Rhode Island Historical Society Collections.